Why consumer-focused venture capital firm Maveron turned away millions for its seventh fund – GeekWire

Why consumer-focused venture capital firm Maveron turned away millions for its seventh fund – GeekWire

Why consumer-focused venture capital firm Maveron turned away millions for its seventh fund – GeekWire

The Maveron team. (Maveron Photo)

Venture capitalists broke all kinds of records last year as the size of funds and deals continued to reach astronomical levels.

That’s what makes Maveron’s decision to say “no” to more cash for its seventh fund more interesting.

The consumer-focused venture capital firm announced its seventh fund on Wednesday. It reeled in $180 million that will back another group of early-stage startups.

Launched by former investment banker Dan Levitan and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz more than two decades ago, Maveron has backed companies such as eBay, Zulily, Allbirds, Trupanion, General Assembly, Everlane, and others, including startups riding the direct-to-consumer wave. It has offices in Seattle and San Francisco.

In a blog post today, the firm revealed how it turned down more than $70 million for its seventh fund to “keep our fund size small.”

“It takes discipline to do something different from the rest of the herd, but we know that we’re not in the business of AUM, we’re in the business of generating cash-on-cash returns,” Maveron wrote.

In other words, Maveron doesn’t feel the need to raise huge swaths of cash to keep up with competing firms. “We know in this market it is hard to adhere to the idea that size is the enemy of performance but we believe in that truth here,” the blog post reads.

Maveron raised $160 million for its sixth fund; $140 million for its fifth fund; and $240 million for its fourth fund.

For the seventh fund, $155 million came from outside investors, while the Maveron team put in $25 million. Collectively, Maveron itself is the firm’s largest investor.

Maveron said it will build off its diverse team to help guide investments. Last year, 70 percent of the companies Maveron backed had a female founder. That’s notable in a U.S. market where less than 3 percent of venture capital dollars went to female founders.

“Our team’s diversity and gender equity is not just the right thing to do, it gives us an edge,” Maveron said. “We’re able to see things others can’t because of our balanced team.”

Recent Maveron investments include Co-Star; Two Chairs; Kids on 45th; Hammerhead; Neighborhood Goods; Pro.com; Keeps; and more. Its other Seattle-area investments include Against Gravity; Crowd Cow; Dolly; JetClosing; Leaftail Labs; Moment; Novel Effect; Peach; Pluto; Spruce Up; Tomorrow; and more.

Here’s more about Maveron’s investing strategy, per the blog post:

“Looking ahead, we expect to invest the new fund at the intersection of technology and customer needs. We approach consumer investing from the mind of the customer and look for big markets where there is an opportunity to create a trusted and beloved experience. Right now we are focused on a number of trends: Anarghya is spending a lot of time looking at what the unbundling of Facebook will look like over the next five years; Cat has been exploring and investing in companies that serve the unmet needs of women; David is looking at how entertainment is going to be reinvented; and Natalie is focused on both Gen Z and the aging population in the US. You’ll see us invest the fund in a broad swath of early stage consumer brands from DTC products to social networks and healthcare companies.”

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